The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

What's New?

Family History

1. 1939 Register

Following the publication of the 1939 Register on Ancestry, I did a sweep of the Brecht/Brett family names:

1939 Register

2. Gardiner/Hughes Family

Joan Hughes, Woman Aviator

Caroline Gardiner's sister Matilda married Charles Collier, Ropemaker, Chris' great grandfather.

Caroline married John Hughes, who may be related to Joan Hughes, the Woman Aviator.

In April, the BBC broadcast a programme about the RAF Centenary, RAF100, in which Joan Hughes was mentioned by name:

Joan Hughes

3. Brecht One-Name Study

Brecht/Brett/Cornwell Family

The New Year got off to a brisk start with a cousin, from a branch of the Family Tree, making contact for the first time.

He was descended from the notorious George Henry Brett (born Brecht):

I was able to put him in touch with another cousin on the Cornwell side of his family. Wonderful!

Murder of George Brett 1951

I took the opportunity to re-Google George Brett, Gangster and found a further 4 1951 articles:

- an article from The Sydney Morning Herald Saturday 14 July 1951

- an article from The Truth Sunday 15 July 1951

- an article from The Canberra Times on Monday 16 July 1951

- an article from The Truth, on Sunday 9 December 1951.

The articles have been collated in a page Murder of George Brett:

Attempted Murder by George Brett 1926

I also found two articles relating to an attempted murder by George Brett:

Nellie Brett

Another descendant of George Henry Brett (born Brecht) received a visit from the wife and daughter of another of our cousins in Australia, bringing some more information about the family.

It turns out that George married a Mary Ellen (Nellie) Casey in Australia:

Australia Marriage Index 1788-1950

Name: Mary Ellen Casey
Spouse Name: George Brett
Marriage Date: 10 May 1912
marriage Place: Queensland
Registration Place: Queensland
Registration Year: 1912

Nellie Brett appears to have been no shrinking violet and features in some further newspaper articles:

Clara Mary Ann Brecht

A correspondent gave me further information on Clara Mary Ann Brecht born Limehouse.

Sinking of the SS Britannia

Survivor's Account by Donald Brown RN

A correspondent, who contacted me in 2009, made contact again.

He had written up the background of his grandfather Donald Brown, who survived the sinking of the SS Britannia in 1941.

He also sent me a long and detailed account of the sinking by his grandfather.

I edited both documents and made them available in this website:

This is an extraordinary story and includes:

- Donald Brown taking part in the evacuation of troops from the Dunkirk beaches in 1940
- surviving the sinking of two vessels
- picked up from the Britannia's lifeboat by the same ship that rescued my father
- not reaching a third naval vessel which was also sunk
- serving with Prince Philip
- being mentioned in dispatches in the Korean war


Survival by Donald Brown RN

Colin Bower
12 May 2018

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